Now, I know you’ve all probably been wondering where I’ve been. Well basically, as if Peace Corps hasn’t been keeping me busy enough, being sick sure has. But we’ll get into that in a little bit.
So first, I’VE ARRIVED. I MADE IT. I’M ALIVE.
I’ve been in Indonesia for 3 weeks today! And although it feels like I’ve been here so much longer, it also feels as if there’s no way it’s been that long. But here we are. A lot has happened in these 3 weeks, but there’s no way I can go in depth into it all (Or I can, but I doubt any of you would actually finish reading the 40 page novel I could write, so we’ll stick to short, sweet, and simple). I’m in the process of writing another post already, so you won’t have to wait too long.
I landed in Surabaya on Sunday, March 12th. We stayed in a hotel for two nights, and headed to Kediri on March 14th. We made a pit stop at a school of an ID10 (I’m an ID11), and then finished the rest of the trip to the hotel in Kediri. We stayed at the hotel in Kediri for 4 nights before moving in with our host families.
In Surabaya, we basically just had a bunch of meetings/classes, met a bunch of people, and visited the Peace Corps office, among other things. We spent the four days in the hotel in Kediri beginning language classes and having a few important lessons (i.e. bike riding in Indonesia).
I moved in with my host family on Saturday, March 18th. I am living in a village called Rejomulyo in a city called Kediri. My host family is great. I have a Bapak (dad) and Ibu (mom), 2 little sisters (Difa and Zalfa), and a baby brother (Faris). I honestly can’t tell whether Faris actually likes me, or is laughing at me because I look different than everyone else and he thinks it’s funny. I’m going to pretend he just really likes me. He actually STOPS crying when he sees me, so I’m taking that as a good sign.
My days/weeks are basically the same. I, luckily, have English class hosted in my house, so I get to sleep in and walk downstairs for breakfast 15 minutes before class instead of getting up early to get ready and to bike to class. Language classes are usually Monday-Thursday and Saturday. Monday, we have language class all day, with a few short breaks and a longer break for lunch. Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, we have language from 7am until 11:30am, have a 1.5 hour break for lunch (we usually eat and then play cards), and then have Link sessions from 1-4:30ish.
What’s a link session, you ask? Well let me tell you. All of us are split up into 7 different villages. I have the biggest link session, with 3 villages who attend. Link sessions are information sessions on a variety of different topics ranging from teaching English to Safety and Security. There’s 3 different lessons each week, and we only have link sessions Tuesday-Thursday. So each link session has different presenters and different topics each day.
Lastly, Fridays we have Hub days. That when all 55 of us get together, are split into two groups, and switch between more information sessions. For example, we’ve had water and food safety, common health issues, women empowerment, and coping with unwanted attention, to name a few. There’s normally 4 different classes each Hub Day. I personally enjoy Hub days because I get to see everyone from other villages that I literally would never see otherwise (with the exception of trips to the mall and whoever happens to be taking advantage of the AC in the Peace Corps office at STAIN).
Sundays are free days, but let’s be real. I’m a PC Trainee who’s still learning a new language while navigating a new culture 25 hours a day/8 days a week, so I never really get a day off.
Okay, fine. Let’s talk about being sick. I seem to have had a lot of the bad luck since we’ve moved to our host families. People have been sick, but I seem to have had the (maybe) the worst of it.
Are you ready for this? Here we go.
I’ve had strep throat. I got put on antibiotics for it. But then I got vomiting and diarrhea. So I had to stop taking them. Luckily, the vomiting and diarrhea only lasted a day. But I seem to still have inflammation in my throat. Yay me. I also have gotten a yeast infection and a bacterial infection. And to top it all off, I’ve been dehydrated.
So basically, I’ve been exhausted and sickly and hot. Oh so hot. But I don’t think that will go away (a girl can dream, though). Luckily, I am feeling a little better. I’m just working on rehydrating myself with ORS. If you’ve never had to drink an ORS drink, consider yourself lucky. They taste absolutely horrendous. But they do the body good, so they’re not an option, they’re necessary. I’ve heard you can make it taste better by squeezing an orange into in, but I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet (no, for no reason in particular. I have two oranges sitting in my room. I’ve honestly just been too lazy to take the time to do it. It’s my own fault). Maybe tomorrow.
I’ve been old you’re not truly a Peace Corps Volunteer until you get diarrhea, so I guess this means I’m ready to serve?
But if you’re sitting there thinking, “oh poor Sydney, she much be having an awful time,” don’t. Yeah, it’s been hard, but I’m enjoying my time here so much that not even 2 straight weeks of sickness can change that. I live on a road with an amazing view. I am enjoying learning about a different culture, and I, of course, love learning a new language. Although it’s oh so very hot, I don’t have to deal with the awful Michigan snow. You win some, you lose some, eh?
And I just honestly can’t imagine being anywhere else.
“And what might seem like a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey.” -Lemony Snicket
My last meal in America. $50 worth of sushi. Worth it. (I miss sushi. so much.)
One of the meals on the airplanes. Singapore Airlines.
Map in the PC Office in Surabaya.
In the Peace Corps office. Surabaya.
Flooding at the hotel in Kediri!
Where I had my language class at the hotel in Kediri.
All of the motorcycles at STAIN, the university we use for classes.
Mari and I bought doughnuts!
Our village’s first ride in an angkot!
My mandi aka shower. (Yes, it’s a bucket with a scoop in it.)
Where I dry my clothes!
I got my first sunburn! (That watch tan line though)
Where I get my drinking water.
Chicken with peanut sauce!
I treated myself to pizza! Pizza Hut, Kediri Mall.
I’m honestly not sure what these are, but I do know that they were delicious.
A fruit stand on the side of the road.
Don’t worry, we’re going to be just fine. We have this book!